Ultra Short Throw (UST) projectors are the way to go if you want a big picture without taking up a lot of space and you'd rather not buy a huge OLED or LCD TV. Philips has ventured into the UST arena before with its Screeneo U3 model, but the company's new Screeneo U4 seems to strike a much better balance between budget and general concerns.

Available exclusively for pre-order on Indiegogo at an affordable introductory price of €599/€620, the Screeneo U4, which ships in August, is competitively priced against some of the best portable projectors we've recently reviewed, such as the Samsung Freestyle. and the Halo Xgimi. Similar to these, this is a DLP model with a very living room friendly design, sporting a dark matte aluminum and ABS casing with curved edges. This sets it apart from other UST projectors, most of which tend to be oversized and appliance-like.

Given the low price, I wouldn't expect the Screeneo U4 to output 4K images, although this 1080p resolution model accepts 4K/60Hz video input and can handle HDR10 sources. A throw ratio of 0,25:1 means you can place it 7,7 inches from a wall or projection screen for a 60-inch image and 12 inches for an 80-inch image. At just 4,8 x 3,2 x 8,8 inches and 3 pounds, the Screeneo U4 is designed to be portable, while its auto focus and auto keystone functions instantly compose a perfectly sharp, correctly positioned image after you put it down. to se her.

Screeneo U4's spec sheet cites the brightness of its LED light engine at 400 lumens. Following in Epson's footsteps of providing detailed specs, Philips' numbers are for both color and white brightness, which should pack a real visual punch. Other specifications indicate a Rec.709 (HDTV) color space coverage of 108% and a light source life of 30 hours. Input latency is an impressive 000ms for a model that is not designed specifically as a gaming projector.

Philips Screeneo U4 tilted showing the ports

The Philips Screeneo U4 compact projector provides two HDMI video inputs and Bluetooth audio outputs (Image credit: Philips)

A pair of HDMI inputs on the Screeneo U4 allow for the connection of a games console and a Roku, Fire TV, or other streaming device, while a USB Type-A port can power the latest options. A 2.1 x 2W 15 car audio system can serve as the audio system, or you can use the Screeneo U4's two Bluetooth outputs for an instant audio upgrade by connecting to an external Bluetooth speaker or soundbar or wireless headphones (a pair of them, if you want).

Review: When it comes to projectors, smaller can be better

The best 4K projectors in the ultra-short throw (UST) category offer an easy way to get a huge 100-inch or larger image into your living space. And they do it without the inconvenience of having to install a box that emits an image from a distance and requires careful control of the lighting in the room to achieve good image quality.

While the benefits of UST projectors, which require installation just inches from the wall to work their big-screen magic, are undeniable, they're generally unattractive devices that look more like a radiator or other large device.

Some companies like Xgimi with the 4K Aura model are bringing their design expertise to the UST projector set, but the Aura is priced at €2800, an amount that is out of reach for many household budgets. It's also what you can expect to pay for some 85-inch TVs, and these offer a nearly equivalent widescreen experience, but with significantly higher brightness to benefit from HDR viewing.

At just $599/$620 for an 80-inch screen, the compact Philips Screeneo U4 looks like the perfect ticket for casual gaming or sports, or family movie night. Specifically, the projector itself is unobtrusive and looks good.

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